Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 24, 2014 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

4:00 pm
annenberg media ♪ by: era la agente de bienes raíces. un empresario de los estados unidos está interesado en comprar la gavia. pero... todavía no está en venta, ¿verdad? narrador: bienvenidos a destinos: an introduction to spanish.
4:01 pm
primero vamos a ver algunas escenas de este episodio. aquí jaime. tengo muy buenas noticias. angela ha llamado desde el hospital. dice que roberto se despertó y que está muy bien. ibueno, qué alegría! se te ve muy bien. por lo menos estás despierto. sí. la verdad es que sí me siento muy bien. y yo lo puedo comprobar. se comió dos desayunos. ay, a propósito ¿no queda algo por allí? veo que la recuperación ha sido completa y rápida. también vamos a hablar un poco sobre el ballet folclórico de méxico. fundado por amelia hernández el ballet folclórico incluye música y danzas de diferentes regiones del país. ( se toca el jarabe tapatío )
4:02 pm
¿y carlos se fue así? ¿no te dio ninguna explicación? no, ninguna. ¿no lo has visto esta mañana? no, no he visto ni a carlos ni a gloria. captioning of this program is made possible by the annenberg/cpb project and the geraldine r. dodge foundation. en el episodio previo raquel y arturo regresaron al hotel después de una reunión en la casa de pedro. había un mensaje para raquel. ellos, alarmados, llamaron en seguida a pedro. acabo de recibir tu mensaje.
4:03 pm
¿ocurre algo? no te alarmes, raquel. es que dejaste tu cartera en mi despacho... en el bar, arturo le preguntó a raquel si había pensado en ellos, en su futuro. entonces, ¿no pensaste en mí en absoluto? claro que pensé en ti... y mucho. lo que no hice fue pensar en mí. mientras tanto, pedro, ramón y mercedes hablaban de los problemas económicos de la oficina en miami. pedro y los demás no sabían que carlos los escuchaba. en casa de ramón, carlos habló seriamente con gloria. es hora de corregir esta situación. no puedo ocultar más la verdad. carlos: ihola!
4:04 pm
más tarde, carlos descubrió que gloria había desaparecido. ramón: ¿carlos? carlos, ¿adónde vas a estas horas? no te lo puedo decir ahora. ramón, ¿puedo usar tu carro? por supuesto, pero, ¿qué pasa con el tuyo? se lo ha llevado gloria. ¿gloria? ya te explicaré. no te lo puedo decir. bien, pero, ¿qué es lo que ocurre? yo sé que uds. saben todo de lo de las finanzas en miami. les debo a todos una explicación. pero ahorita necesito tu carro, por favor.
4:05 pm
está bien... pero me dejas confundido. ¿qué tiene que ver gloria en todo esto? te prometo que te lo explicaré más tarde. no te preocupes. hasta luego. al día siguiente, roberto se siente mucho mejor. mientras desayuna, angela termina de contarle la historia de sus abuelos, rosario y fernando y de la búsqueda de raquel. ¿y todo eso pasó mientras yo estaba enterrado en la excavación? iparece una telenovela! es como un sueño, ¿no? y pensar que papá creyó toda su vida que su padre había muerto...
4:06 pm
así que tú tampoco lo conoces. no, el abuelo está muy enfermo y lo han llevado a un hospital. pero sí he conocido al tío arturo que ha venido desde la argentina. es muy simpático. ¿cómo es arturo? ¿se parece a papá? no tanto. acuérdate que tienen padres diferentes. sí, claro. cuéntame más de él. es muy simpático. y, ¿sabes qué? creo que él y raquel... como que... naturalmente. ino hay una telenovela completa sin un buen romance! oye, a propósito ¿no podrás conseguirme algo más de comer? ime muero de hambre! bueno, eso indica que ya estás bien.
4:07 pm
voy a llamar a raquel y a tío arturo para avisarles y veré qué puedo hacer por tu segundo desayuno. ¿no te dio ninguna explicación? no, ninguna. ¿no lo has visto esta mañana? no, no he visto ni a carlos ni a gloria. habrá que esperar que aparezcan para saber qué ocurre. bueno, tío. yo tengo que ir a la gavia a atender unos asuntos. ( teléfono suena ) ¿bueno? sí, con ramón castillo... él mismo. ah... bueno, sí, podría ser. lo hemos pensado, pero todavía no lo hemos decidido. ajá...
4:08 pm
sí, yo tengo que salir esta misma tarde. voy a la gavia. como guste, podría verla allá. sí. el gusto es mío. buenos días. era la agente de bienes raíces. un empresario de los estados unidos está interesado en comprar la gavia. pero... todavía no está en venta, ¿verdad? no... y no sabemos cómo saben que es posible que la vendamos. pero es bueno saber que hay alguien interesado en comprar la propiedad. creí que habíamos decidido esperar a que papá estuviera mejor. sí, mercedes, por supuesto. pero esta agente quiere ver la propiedad y me parece bien saber cuál puede ser el precio. es verdad, mercedes. eso nos ayudará a la hora de decidir.
4:09 pm
bueno, entonces, hagan lo que quieran. yo voy al hospital a ver a papá. ¿no desayunas? ya desayuné más temprano. yo tengo que ir a la gavia. voy contigo. ¿van a la gavia? me gustaría ir con uds. un poco de aire fresco me haría bien. mercedes, ¿has visto a carlos o a gloria esta mañana? no. ¿por qué lo preguntas? bueno, es muy raro. anoche muy tarde... ¿no estás cansada? no has dormido. no, me siento bien. tal vez tú me puedas hacer un favor. sí, claro, dime. debo llamar a mi familia en puerto rico para decirles que roberto está bien. comprendo. ¿quieres que yo los llame? si no es mucha molestia... ipor supuesto que no! yo llamo. y luego, me encuentro con arturo para ir juntos al hospital. los esperamos. hasta luego. hasta luego.
4:10 pm
¿bueno? habla raquel rodríguez desde méxico. iah, sí, sí, raquel! aquí jaime. tengo muy buenas noticias. angela ha llamado desde el hospital. dice que roberto se despertó y que está muy bien. ibueno, qué alegría! yo voy a verlo ahora. por favor, dígale que nos alegramos mucho de que esté bien. pregúntele si necesita algo. sí, se lo prometo. y dígale que le mando un abrazo. iah! y hay algo muy importante. el hombre interesado en el apartamento ha hecho una oferta.
4:11 pm
¿para comprarlo? sí. es una buena oferta. angela debe decidir. pídale que se comunique conmigo. por supuesto, yo se lo digo. ah... y también hay que recordarle que lo hable con roberto. sí, por supuesto. angela, a veces, es un poco apresurada. comprendo. adiós, jaime. ( suspira ) buenos días. habla raquel rodríguez. ah, licenciada rodríguez, ¿cómo está ud.? muy bien, gracias. ¿y ud.?
4:12 pm
también bien, gracias a dios. ¿se encuentra pedro? no, licenciada, él no se encuentra aquí ahora. ¿y ramón, o mercedes? tampoco están ellos. no hay nadie en la casa. bien, mire, tengo prisa. cuando se comuniquen, dígales por favor que roberto, su sobrino de puerto rico está despierto, que se encuentra bien. dígales también que yo salgo para el hospital para verlo. sí, licenciada, no se preocupe. en cuanto ellos se comuniquen conmigo, se los diré. bien, se lo agradezco. hasta luego. ( sin sonido )
4:13 pm
buenos días. buenos días señorita. me gustaría saber si me pueden conseguir boletos para el ballet folclórico. sí, señorita, ¿cómo no? el ballet folclórico de méxico es un espectáculo de fama internacional. fundado por amelia hernández el ballet folclórico incluye música y danzas de diferentes regiones del país. ( se toca el jarabe tapatío ) ( se tocan trompetas y guitarras )
4:14 pm
el ballet folclórico ha actuado en muchos países del mundo. este famoso espectáculo se ha presentado en los estados unidos,s, españa y otros lugares. la sede permanente del ballet es este bello edificio el palacio de bellas artes. todo está arreglado. puede ud. recoger los boletos en la entrada de bellas artes. muchas gracias. a sus órdenes, señorita. ya estoy listo. ¿vamos?
4:15 pm
yo también. vamos. aproveché para pedir boletos para el ballet folclórico para nosotros y mis padres. ¿qué te parece? sólo supe anoche que venían tus padres y me sorprendió. así es mi mamá. ya la vas a conocer. iqué bueno que ya llegaron! ijuan! lupe, iqué gusto! ique bueno que llegaron! ahoritita me les preparo algo de comer. no gracias, lupita, todavía es temprano. sí deben tener hambre después de venir manejando desde méxico. no es para tanto si no es tan largo el camino. van a ver, tengo unos tamales unos chilaquiles y unas empanadas. ahorita mismo les sirvo, ¿eh? lupe, la misma de siempre. o mejor. ojalá que nunca cambie.
4:16 pm
ilo mismo digo yo! además, ya se me antojan esos chilaquiles. pues, la verdad ia mí también! nos conoce como si fuera nuestra propia madre. bueno, pues, ¿qué esperamos? arturo: ven que te quiero decir algo. raquel, te quiero agradecer lo que has hecho. ¿cómo? encontrar a angela y a roberto. por fin podré resolver el conflicto. no con angel, pero sí con sus hijos. vamos. te estarán esperando. roberto... ya te hablé mucho de raquel. ella estuvo conmigo todo el tiempo que estuviste en esta horrible excavación. yo también te estoy muy agradecido, raquel.
4:17 pm
con todo lo que me ha contado angela es como si te conociera de hace tiempo. y yo a ti. y ya te imaginarás que él es nuestro tío arturo. ies increíble! ¿increíble? ¿qué cosa? tenés la misma sonrisa de tu padre angel. de veras, la misma sonrisa. bueno, se te ve muy bien. por lo menos estás despierto. sí, eso sí. la verdad es que sí, me siento muy bien. y yo lo puedo comprobar. se comió dos desayunos. ay, a propósito ¿no queda algo por allí? veo que la recuperación ha sido completa y rápida. bueno, les he traído algunas cosas de buenos aires. pensé que les gustaría verlas.
4:18 pm
arturo: fue terrible. yo era muy chico y me impresioné mucho. mi padre estaba furioso. yo nunca olvidé esa pelea. a la noche, a mi padre le dio un ataque cardíaco y angel se fue. le escribía a mi madre durante unos años pero cuando ella murió no supe más nada de él. pobre papá. se habría sentido culpable
4:19 pm
de la muerte de tu padre. sí. así le escribí en las cartas a mi madre. doctora: buenos días. buenos días. doctora: veo que el paciente ya está mucho mejor. sí, sí. ya me siento bien con ganas de salir de aquí. vamos a ver. tal vez ya podamos enviarlo a su casa. si me permiten aprovecharé para llamar al hotel. tal vez pedro ya me haya enviado la cartera. es verdad. bien, muchas gracias. pasaré a recogerla en cuanto pueda. hasta luego. ( suspira ) bueno. por fin el tío y los sobrinos están juntos. y yo me siento muy contenta por ellos. recuerdo muy bien el humor de angela de esta mañana
4:20 pm
cuando me llamó desde el hospital. ¿recuerdan uds.? ¿estaba ella animada o parecía estar cansada? ¿no estás cansada? no has dormido. no, me siento bien. angela estaba muy animada, muy contenta. ¿y qué quería ella que yo hiciera? angela quería que yo llamara a su familia en san juan.
4:21 pm
entonces llamé y hablé con jaime. claro, él también estaba muy contento con la noticia de roberto. durante la conversación jaime me pidió un favor. el quería que yo le dijera algo a angela. ¿recuerdan qué quería que le dijera? el hombre interesado en el apartamento ha hecho una oferta. ¿para comprarlo? sí. es una buena oferta. angela debe decidir. pídale que se comunique conmigo.
4:22 pm
cuando bajé, le pedí al recepcionista que me ayudara en algo. ¿en qué quería yo que me ayudara? buenos días. buenos días. me gustaría saber si me pueden conseguir boletos para el ballet folclórico. sí, señorita, ¿cómo no?
4:23 pm
finalmente arturo y yo vinimos aquí, al hospital y arturo conoció a roberto. no tardaron en hablar de angel. ies increíble! ¿increíble? ¿qué cosa? tenés la misma sonrisa de tu padre angel. de veras, la misma sonrisa. yo los dejé un momento para llamar al hotel. quería saber si pedro había dejado allí mi cartera. y sí, allí está. bueno, debo regresar. se deben estar preguntando por qué tardo tanto. raquel regresa a la alegre reunión entre tío y sobrinos. ella no sabe lo que ha pasado en esta casa entre otro tío y sus sobrinos. pero uds. lo saben, ¿no?
4:24 pm
¿y carlos se fue así? ¿no te dio ninguna explicación? no, ninguna. ¿no lo has visto esta mañana? no, no he visto ni a carlos ni a gloria.
4:25 pm
era la agente de bienes raíces. un empresario de los estados unidos está interesado en comprar la gavia. ahora, ¿qué estará pasando en la casa de ramón? ¿encontró carlos a gloria? ¿adónde fue ell ipapá! hola. papá, ¿dónde está mamá? salió, carlitos. ¿tardará mucho en regresar? no, hijito. no tardará mucho. se fue otra vez de viaje, ¿verdad? sí, carlitos, está... de viaje. pero regresará pronto, ¿eh? ya les daré una explicación a todos. es hora de que sepan la verdad.
4:26 pm
( suspira ) captioned by the caption center wgbh educational foundation
4:27 pm
annenberg media ♪ for information about this and other annenberg media programs call 1-800-learner and visit us at www.learner.org.
4:28 pm
4:29 pm
4:30 pm
annenberg media ♪ zines, radio, television, and now the internet -- are a powerful force in our lives. we turn to the media for information and entertainment, and there are few among us who can say that our opinions are not influenced by what we read, see, and hear. what we are less likely to understand is that the media also play a critical role in our political system, and despite its shortfalls, on the whole, this works to the benefit of our democracy. i'm renee poussaint.
4:31 pm
rolling. man: how's sound? it's clear. stand by. and cue renee. one of america's great supreme court justices, felix frankfurter, once said, "a free press is indispensable to the workings of our democratic society." unlike many other nations, the first amendment to our constitution allows almost no restrictions on the content of reporting. this means that the press is given the opportunity to play an active role in public affairs,
4:32 pm
even when it is embarrassing to public officials. it is a freedom that journalists often use to hold political leaders accountable to the people. in 2001, two reporters from the washington post completed an investigation into the deaths of 229 foster children, children who died while under the care of the district of columbia's child protection system. their expose blamed the d.c. government for the deaths of at least 40 of the children. the story had taken two years to uncover and report, but it started with the death of just one anonymous little girl. woman: i got a phone call from someone i didn't know at that time, who said, "you should really look into the death of one child that we know about." there's a judge that let this child go back to her biological mother,
4:33 pm
took her out of foster care, and made a mistake in sending her home. poussaint: horwitz called the agency charged with watching over abused children -- child and family services. the official would tell her nothing. horwitz: the public information officer said, "first of all, everything about our children "is confidential, "so not only can we not tell you anything "about the circumstance of this case, we can't even tell you a child died." poussaint: from a police department source, horwitz learned that a child by the name of brianna blackmond had died. to find out how it happened, she tracked down brianna's foster parents. i talked my way into the house and sat down with her, and in her broken english and my broken spanish, i tried to do an interview. and then i saw that she had some photographs, and there was a beautiful picture of brianna there. poussaint: that photo would prove crucial to reporting the story. that was so important for our readers,
4:34 pm
because i think that people tend to glaze over stories about foster care. but her picture on the front page put a face on this story and made people care about this beautiful little child who had been murdered. we got a call from a news source, a social worker, who said, "why are you writing so many stories about this one little girl?" and she said, "don't you know about all the other children?" poussaint: now, teamed with investigative reporter scott higham, horwitz set out to find the rest of the children who had died. but there was a problem. horwitz: because of laws governing foster care, everything about foster children -- even when they die, even when they die because government workers make a mistake -- it's confidential. poussaint: the investigation was stalled until they discovered a committee that worked in secrecy, the child fatality review committee. horwitz: we went to the committee and said,
4:35 pm
"we'd like to see your reports." and they gave us these thick documents, these public reports that were completely useless. poussaint: so the reporters turned to the mayor, a former foster child himself. but even with his help, it took months before the complete records were finally delivered to the washington post. horwitz: we started to get boxes of documents. tens of thousands of documents about these children. the only problem was, we get the documents, and all the names are blacked out, all the social workers who had any contact with them redacted, all the government workers who might be at fault, blacked out. poussaint: without the names, the investigative team faced a formidable challenge -- how to identify the children who died, and who was responsible. we went and got police records, court records, we talked to sources inside the agency to figure out who each child was. and we also, at that point, got the help of a woman who is this incredible computer database editor.
4:36 pm
poussaint: computer expert sarah cohen joined the team and used databases to match a tangle of public records. that proved to be the key to unlocking the mystery and identifying the children. horwitz: and it was incredible because once we would identify a child, it was like they were coming to life again. poussaint: but the stories that database revealed were horrifying. sylvester brown -- stabbed to death by his mother, after numerous pleas to authorities for help fell on deaf ears. wesley lucas, a 23-month-old boy, whose dying cries rang out in this stairwell. child services took the boy away from his unstable mother and sent him to live with a 69-year-old friend, who was dying of lung cancer. they found the man lying in bed,
4:37 pm
dead from lung cancer, and the little baby on his chest. the baby had died of starvation. poussaint: the stories took an emotional toll on the reporters. they also unleashed anger. horwitz: and then that anger translated to, "we got to get this on paper, we have to tell people, and we have to try to change this." poussaint: once the team had the documents, it was possible to lay out the cases one by one, and to expose the fact that city officials had known about the problems for years. 600-some recommendations to the city sent to the mayor, the chief judge of the superior court, the chief of police, top officials, saying, "this is what's going on, and this is what you need to do." nothing was done about those recommendations. poussaint: but now, faced with public exposure, things started to change. ernestine jones, head of child services, left her job in disgrace. mayor anthony williams demanded that the system be returned from federal oversight to his care. the series triggered outrage
4:38 pm
at the highest levels of government. congressman tom delay, a foster parent himself, was so horrified by the deaths of the children that he demanded changes in the court system. the superior court of the district of columbia was designed for failure when it comes to dealing with abused and neglected children. there was no family court. he said, "i want a whole new court." and the superior court fought him on this, but eventually, he passed legislation to set up a family court in d.c. and it was signed by bush. it's important in every aspect of our lives to have an open and free press. the foster care system needs a very strong and independent press to hold people accountable for the decisions they make, and most importantly, hold them accountable for the results of the decisions they make. poussaint: in april 2002, sari horwitz and scott higham
4:39 pm
won journalism's greatest honor, the pulitzer prize. i mean, we did win a lot of prizes afterwards, and that was like the icing on the cake, i mean, it was great, but when they started making these changes in the city -- and when they brought two women to trial over brianna's death -- those sorts of things really made us excited about being journalists. journalists need political candidates and public officials as a source of news, but they are often very critical of them. they criticize opinions, question motives, scrutinize personal lives, and reduce thoughts to abbreviated quotes that distort full statements. why, then, are most politicians and public officials so willing to talk to the press, even leaking a story to be sure it makes the news? above all, it is because they must rely on the media
4:40 pm
to send their messages to the public. announcer: at a momentous time like this, when a cigarette means a lot... poussaint: this used to be the way cigarettes were advertised on television. l&m has actually more of this longer-aged and extra-cured tobacco leaf than even some unfiltered cigarettes. and l&m's filter is the modern filter, all-white inside and outside, so only pure white touches your lips. poussaint: but the problem wasn't the white that touched your lips, it was too often the cancer that touched your lungs. get lots more from l&m. lots more. poussaint: and that was a lot more of an admission than the cigarette companies had made before the mid-1990s. the industry purposely misled the public
4:41 pm
in order to make a profit, and the industry finally acknowledged that it has a responsibility to truly warn people that smoking kills. poussaint: the industry agreed to make that concession only after agreeing to pay the state of florida $11 billion to settle an unprecedented lawsuit. it was one of the industry's first losing battles in what has become known as the tobacco wars. during the past year, we forced the industry to reveal its dark and dirty secrets and lies. we made them produce the documents that proved our case and that showed how they covered up those lies. poussaint: florida wasn't the only combatant in the tobacco wars. the federal food and drug administration was leading the attack on cigarette companies. the effort was spearheaded by fda commissioner david kessler.
4:42 pm
nicotine is a drug. fda regulates all other drugs, it regulates all other products that come in contact with the human body. it regulates all cosmetics, everything put on the skin, everything ingested. why doesn't the fda regulate nicotine? it's a powerfully addictive drug. poussaint: and so david kessler felt the fda should control the marketing of cigarettes. it was something the tobacco industry had fought for decades, and when the battle got to the supreme court, the cigarette companies won. but kessler won in the court of public opinion. the fda helped expose how tobacco companies manipulated the nicotine in their product while lying to the public about the safety of cigarettes. kessler's exposure of the cigarette companies could not have occurred without an unusual and unofficial working relationship with the news media. we changed the world, working with the media. we changed the world between 1994 and 1996.
4:43 pm
poussaint: mitch zeller was an associate commissioner in charge of the fda's office of tobacco programs. what fda unearthed in its investigation is the fact that the cigarette is one of the most highly engineered consumer products imaginable. it is a scientifically sophisticated and engineered product that's there to create and sustain addiction to nicotine, and these were novel and profound ideas back in 1994 and 1995. and not only did the public not know that, but when we started, we didn't know it either. poussaint: but the media, some of the best investigative reporters in the country, weren't just reporting on the fda's investigation, in some cases, they were leading the way. i have to admit, after the fact, that we got some of our most important leads from the media and from the work that the media was doing. sometimes it was provided to us, and sometimes inadvertently it came to us through the media.
4:44 pm
poussaint: jack mitchell was the senior fda investigator working on tobacco issues, but he was also a former investigative reporter who had worked for the cable television network cnn. there was a snowball effect. the media would do a story, that would push the government to do more. and they were playing off of each other, not deliberately, but inadvertently, and you could see it on a day-to-day or month-to-month basis. reporters and producers and fda investigators were seeing documents that had never been seen before outside of the confines of the tobacco industry, and trying to sort through what it all meant, and so, to a degree, we were working together to unearth the story. the documents themselves were what made this story work in a huge way. poussaint: during the tobacco wars, john schwartz was the washington post's science reporter. he is now a correspondent for the new york times. some of the most interesting stories that we did were really drawn from documents,
4:45 pm
but that's what was new. poussaint: most of the industry documents that found their way to the fda and congress came from so-called whistleblowers, men and women who worked inside the cigarette companies. many of the documents and investigative leads then found their way to reporters, who worked hard at developing government sources. i was the beat reporter for the fda at the washington post. when you do that, you have to build a relationship. it doesn't mean you're chums, but you've got to know each other, you've got to know what somebody's like, you've got to have a sense of when somebody's acting strictly out of self-interest. and all day long, you're talking to people who want to spin you. and so you find the person who's going to spin you to the left, you find the person who's going to spin you to the right, and you hope that by the end of it, you're walking down the middle. poussaint: the cigarette companies did their best to fight back. as did the tobacco growers. but in the end, the lies and deceptions of the cigarette companies had done irreparable harm.
4:46 pm
there needed to be public support for what we were doing, and one of the most important ways to get information out to the public, so that they could have a new understanding of the tobacco industry and tobacco products, was through the media. we really needed the media to help educate and inform the public. poussaint: and to help the media, the fda, like the insiders at the cigarette companies, sometimes gave reporters information and guidance that were invaluable. it was a far departure from the adversarial relationship that usually defines the media's relationship with official washington. we were all in search of the same thing, and what was critically important to fda's potential assertion of jurisdiction was the thing that was the most newsworthy, and it was the secrets that had remained locked up inside tobacco industry offices and files, not for years, but for many decades --
4:47 pm
secrets that had been there for 40 or 50 years. 40 or 50 years ago, the tobacco industry knew that nicotine was addictive. poussaint: the cigarette companies were forced to tone down their marketing efforts. joe camel and vending machines all but disappeared, and in what was perhaps one of the greatest victories in the tobacco wars, president bill clinton announced that the cigarette companies had even agreed to stop targeting teenagers. it is clear that the action being taken today is the right thing to do, scientifically, legally, and morally. poussaint: morality is the argument that both the media and former fda officials used to describe their peculiar and often secret alliance during the tobacco wars. we needed the media, and the media needed us. along with the benefits,
4:48 pm
it's also important to take a critical look at how the media operate, to be skeptical about what we see and hear, and to look for the full story beyond the tv or radio sound bite or a newspaper's coverage and editorials. consider -- no media outlet can report all that happens. television, for example, must report stories in a brief time and must keep its advertisers happy by attracting the largest possible audience. the news the public receives is the product of journalistic and editorial judgement, arrived at within severe constraints. this is cnn. good evening again, everyone. one of the things we look at tonight is how a moment... man: i think what the role of a program like "news night" is, is to let people know what's happening day and then why. poussaint: but who decides what the news is? out of thousands of news events,
4:49 pm
who selects which stories to tell? brown: the first thing that we do is say, what does the community need to know today? they need to know their country's safe. poussaint: december 4, 2002. at the new york offices of cnn's "news night," the day starts with a 10:00 a.m. conference call. bohrman: on our morning call, we first get a snapshot of what's happening today. we have a sense of where all the moving parts are on the planet. woman: that would be weapons found in iraq. poussaint: today's most likely lead story -- day 6 of the u.n. inspectors' weapons hunt in iraq. ...weapons of mass destruction. bohrman: it's been this overriding story because, at the heart of it is really the question, is america going to war? man: there is an official order that allows americans who are working for al qaeda to just be assassinated. poussaint: with a long roster of stories and limited time and resources,
4:50 pm
story selection becomes a balancing act between resources of satellite feeds, available guests, and what is important. you know, you look for stories to lead the program that are the most... interesting and important story of the day -- both those words count, interesting and important. poussaint: since cnn is in the business of television news, story selection is strongly affected by what will attract an audience -- the bigger the audience, the bigger the ad dollars. but "news night" attracts a serious news audience, one that's not happy when the program veers into tabloid territory. our core audience let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they thought we'd spent much too much time one night on robert blake. well, we also had the biggest number we'd done in about a year, so i think the editor's job is also to make some judgement about what people ought to know. poussaint: at 3:00, anchor aaron brown joins the staff for an editorial meeting. there is some discussion over the lead story --
4:51 pm
is there any real news in the weapons hunt? brown: clearly, the first day the inspectors went in, it was the lead. do i think it's the lead today in the absence of something out of there other than guys going to one building or another and not saying much? no, i don't necessarily feel it's the lead. poussaint: another story under consideration is whether the cia now has a license to assassinate americans suspected of being in al qaeda. woman: i think it's a pretty good debate. i don't think there's going to be a lot of popular outrage, but i still think it's interesting. right. poussaint: other stories that night -- an approaching winter snowstorm. and a story on whether american airliners should be equipped with missile defense systems. bohrman: we sort of think, with a wink and a nod, that israeli jets, passenger airliners, are protected this way. and is it something that we now need to consider? i think there's a conversation there. right, i'm persuaded. fine.
4:52 pm
is this the right guest? poussaint: and once you choose a topic, how do you tell the story? if you look up on cable all day, well, there's a regular group of experts, and two years ago, they were o.j. experts, and now they're terrorism experts and national security experts. does he have any idea about planes where it's already being used, and he talks about that, like we talked about corporate jets, air force one. bohrman: we have a group of bookers. they make hundreds of phone calls. they talk to people that we know and we trust, they get references, and they try to get some sense for what's in the person's mind, what they have to say. poussaint: after the editorial meeting, the team scatters to search for guests, write the script, and edit reports from the field. this is where the mechanics of television set it apart from print. bohrman: print reporters that have a pad and a pencil, and they can go out and cover any story, but you can't with television. you have to lug around your thousand-pound pencil,
4:53 pm
which is cameras and wires and lights and now satellite dishes. it makes telling a story much more complicated. poussaint: and more costly. a free press in the 21st century is very expensive, and very big business. today, despite a myriad of news outlets, most of them are owned by just a handful of corporations. brown: i think democracy is well-served by all of us being here. if there were one, i would be nervous. poussaint: sometimes, especially when the nation is in crisis, television news offers more than just the facts. on days like september 11th, it can provide a sense of community. brown: people came to us not simply to find out what was going on. they came to us to be part of what was going on. woman: please wait! and that is another perfectly legitimate role for the medium that i'm in.
4:54 pm
woman: 5, 4... poussaint: television news can certainly rise to the occasion, but day in and day out, there are 24 hours of news to be filled. so what stories made it on to "news night" this december 4th? an hour before air time, the lineup was switched. we begin with the weather. we don't do that often. it's december and it's cold -- news that is not, but what is news is how cold and where cold and what a mess it is already creating. and the storm that is rolling through the south tonight, closing down airports from atlanta to cincinnati, is just getting rolling. poussaint: there was yet another live report from iraq. the cia "licensed to kill" story got bumped, to be done another day, when a better expert can be found. the bookers did find an expert to take on the defense of the passenger airline story.
4:55 pm
at the end of the day, this is subjective stuff. whether we lead with the weather or we lead with iraq is a decision i have to make, it is a subjective decision. there's no magic formula here that says that's absolutely right. and we'll see you tomorrow night at 10:00. good night. to update an old riddle, if a tree falls in a forest but the event is not videotaped or broadcast on the nightly news, has it really happened? the nature of the old riddle is such that we never know, and that is the point. without media coverage, we don't know much beyond what we personally experience. but never has knowledge outside our own experience been so available. americans have an extraordinary array of news sources, which, in this age of the 24-hour, 7-day-a-week news cycle, provides an incessant flow of information
4:56 pm
on every conceivable subject. at its best, the american media aids the democratic process by promoting communications from government to citizens and from citizens back to government. this two-way flow of information is essential to our democracy. if voters lack information about what their government is doing, they cannot hold officials accountable. at its worst, however, the media appears to pander to its audience, broadcasting and publishing sensationalized stories that focus heavily on scandals and the lives of celebrities. as competition for a large audience and the advertising dollars that come with it has intensified, the temptation to present news as entertainment has increased. with so much information flowing around us, it is often difficult to see the forest for the trees. the challenge we all face is, how do we sift through the blizzard of information to make intelligent choices
4:57 pm
about what we read, see, and hear? for "democracy in america," i'm renee poussaint.
4:58 pm
annenberg media ♪ for information about this and other annenberg media programs call 1-800-learner d visit us at www.learner.org.
4:59 pm
5:00 pm
annenberg media ♪ captioning is made possible by the annenberg/cpb project from the birthplace of the constitution,

7 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on